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Jackson Fined for Plagiarism

May 12, 1999

ROME (AP) _ Michael Jackson has been ordered to face the music in Italy.

An Italian judge ruled Tuesday that the superstar plagiarized Italian songwriter Al Bano when writing the song ``Will You Be There,″ which was featured on Jackson’s 1991 album ``Dangerous.″

Judge Mario Frigenti fined Jackson a mere $2,200, which he immediately suspended. But he ordered Jackson to pay court costs, which could be considerable, Italian state TV reported.

Bano, a veteran songwriter and singer, claimed Jackson stole part of the musical motif of his song ``I Cigni di Balaka″ (The Swans of Balaka), produced in 1987.

In a hearing in Rome two years ago, Jackson told the court that there was some similarity between the two songs, ``but it’s completely coincidental.″

After the verdict was announced, a beaming Bano, whose real name is Albano Carrisi, invited Jackson to do a concert together and have the proceeds go to children from Kosovo.

A lawyer for Jackson vowed to appeal the ruling.

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